Each year on New Year’s Day I follow a tradition that includes sleeping in, eating a nice breakfast and taking down the holiday decorations — then I leisurely review my calendar from the previous year while my husband watches the bowl games on TV. It is a comfortably paced day that leaves me feeling nostalgic, productive and satisfied at the same time.
As a coach who follows my own advice, I feel strongly about the year-end wrap-up process. Being a solo entrepreneur makes this even more important. I don’t have someone else doing my year-end performance review and no longer have a boss imposing goals or deadlines. When I take time to acknowledge what I’ve accomplished to wrap up my year, I give myself a great opportunity to reflect, be grateful and to steer a deliberate course for the year ahead.
Since I’ve just completed this process, below I share some of my own reflections from 2009 showing you how my process flows. You may want to choose different categories to better reflect your situation, but this should give a sense of what I think is important for my balance and awareness. Below are my 7 main categories and highlights:
1. Groups I Participated In
Going through the calendar made me aware that I am an active member in over 13 different organizations. This means I attend meetings regularly, sometimes pay dues and usually volunteer my service in some way. Reviewing these groups helps me see the time commitment, the benefits and the strategic role they play in my life. I have chosen to drop a couple groups for 2010, but have also renewed my commitment to the ones that remain in 2010.
2. Special People in my Life
People really do make a difference and I am very blessed that my circle of influence became wider in 2009. My husband, kids, family, clients and friends are always very important to me. It is also fun to see the phone messages in my calendar related to the new relationships that have developed through referrals, networking and new client inquiries. In spite of the high numbers of emails, texts, voicemail, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and online transactions, I really did meet with or speak by phone to literally hundreds of new people during this past year. I don’t think the internet can ever replace my direct relationship experience.
3. Fun Experiences and Celebrations
2009 was jam-packed with fun because I would have it no other way. I set an entire goal-setting category for FUN and always fill it before I get to my other goals. Fun is what fills my fuel tank so I have abundant energy for everything else I do. Going through my fun calendar was like re-living it all again….celebrating two 50th birthdays (both me and my husband), a Valentine’s getaway to Florida, Garden Symposium with my girlfriends, my first trip to Lilydale in NY, the Lakeside Women’s Retreat in May, a party celebrating my daughter’s High School Graduation, and the delicious Chocolate and Wine Lover’s Weekend at Geneva on the Lake with my husband are just a fraction of the many wonderful experiences on my list. These memories make me feel great as I gratefully embrace them in my awareness.
4. Learning and Growth
I nearly left this category out when first doing my review this year, only to realize how important learning continues to be for me. Whether it was a class, a certification or a workshop, I came away with so much value that I now can pass along to others. I am grateful for having taken time to study Accelerated Learning principles, Qi Gong, Neurolinguistic Programming, and Ericsonian Hypnosis. I attended workshops/conferences on Energy Psychology and Holistic Medicine, and speaking through NSA Ohio. I completed certification as an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioner this year too. Books are another beloved way I learn. Some of my most memorable reading from this year included The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and Julie and Julia.
5. Pain, Grief and Losses
Even good years have their bumps. Some of these for me included injuring my knee in late April which meant that I had to stop running and high impact aerobics. The knee continues to bother me and I’ll go to the doctor again next week to see what options remain. Another sadness was the closing of Inner Harmony Wellness Center where I had my office for several years. Losing the daily connection to the Inner Harmony Community and that lovely office and teaching space was a big adjustment, but life goes on. Finally, there were a few tears as I said goodbye to my son Dan as he left for a 3 month internship to Sydney Australia. Tears appeared again when we took our youngest child off to college in the fall. We are happily adjusting to life as empty nesters, but it is a big change nonetheless.
6. Business and career milestones
The 2009 economy in NE Ohio was sluggish at best. I began the year doing something I had never done before – giving my services away at reduced or no-fee rates because I knew so many people needed help. It was a risk I took, yet in the end, this was my best year yet in terms of net profit, due to careful management of my expenses and the resurgence of client work later in the year. Going through my calendar allowed me to count over 50 speaking engagements telling me that I am truly a professional speaker. 2009 was the year I delivered my first keynote to a group exceeding 500 people. It is something I hope to do more often in 2010. Reflecting on each audience and coaching experience, I come away with many happy memories, as well as new ideas for the year ahead.
7. Serving and Giving
Perhaps the most important category, this is where I keep track of the time I gave away, the people I served and the worthy causes I supported with my donations. It is part of my business plan to give at least 10% of my business income to charity and those non-profits included Habitat for Humanity, Beads for Peace, The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology’s Research Fund and Venture from the Heart. I also volunteered my service as President for the Middleburg Heights Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of Directors for ACEP – The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology. Additionally I am communications Director for ACEP, responsible for editing their quarterly publication, The Energy Field and also for facilitating web and email communication with our members. Within the service category are also the times I waive my regular fees, offer healing to others and also when I speak at no charge for a good cause. 2009 certainly called me to step up my generosity game. It was a year of giving, but energy always balances out. When I give, I always receive. That is the beauty of energy as it transforms. Nothing is ever really lost.
Action Steps: Get out a notebook, pen and your 2009 calendar. Take time to create a few important categories, and then start tallying up your activities so that you can see the year that just passed from a wider perspective. Take stock of your blessings and feel the good stuff all over again. Use this process to fuel your move forward into 2010. Enjoy!